International Bechtel Inc., a global construction and engineering concern, has established a procurement office in the United Arab Emirates to serve as a supply center for material needed in rebuilding Kuwait's damaged refineries, a company executive said Monday.

Bechtel, headquartered in San Francisco, constructed most of Kuwait's refineries.The executive, who declined to be named, said pipes and other equipment needed for rebuilding the refineries are bought locally or shipped to Bechtel's office at Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone, located outside the emirate of Dubai. From there the equipment will be sent to Kuwait either by sea or overland.

He said the Jebel Ali procurement office has been sending equipment needed for firefighting for the past three weeks.

"We aren't sending the refinery equipment yet because those guys fighting the fires need staples, like water pumps and a place to eat and rest," he said.

The Bechtel executive said the company's London office informs the Jebel Ali procurement office about equipment, most of which is purchased locally and will be used in reconstructing Kuwait's refineries, which suffered extensive damage during the seven-month Iraqi occupation of the oil-rich emirate.

"By the end of the war, we had all the equipment ready to be ordered," he said.

The executive said the refinery reconstruction plan was drafted in December by 80 engineers at Bechtel's London office and only just signed "two to three weeks ago" by the Kuwaiti government in a letter of intent.

"In London, we drew up a worse-case scenario that if they (the Iraqis) blew up everything, it would all have to be replaced," he said.

"Bechtel was picked by the Kuwaiti government in exile as the godfather because in the London office we had plans of all their refineries," the executive said.